Qualitative market research

First step of a successful strategy

Qualitative market research

First step of a successful strategy

Qualitative market research is essential for the analysis of customer behavior, motivation, purchasing decisions and brand loyalty. It is a method that gives a significant insight into the way in which customers use products / services and the way in which their perception is formed.

Qualitative data can be collected in different ways depending on client requests and needs. This type of research produces descriptive findings. Focus groups and in-depth interviews containing the participants’ observations can help identify important factors which have an effect on customer satisfaction in terms of product quality, customer service, staff behavior.

The pros of qualitative market research

  • The research findings refer to customer behavior, opinions, preferences, loyalty and brand market value, as well as to purchase behavior and demand
  • Research is conducted in a way that allows spontaneous responses and comments
  • The participants create synergy and take part in the comments and ideas of other participants
  • This creates a valuable insight into the way in which customers use products / services of different companies and the way in which their perception is formed
  • It helps identify the key factors that impact customer satisfaction in terms of product quality, customer / shopper service, employee behavior
  • It monitors and explains non-verbal communication (body language, tone of voice) which facilitates the analysis after the interview
  • It studies consumer responses in regard to each element of the 4Ps and provides valuable feedback information allowing for a comprehensive adjustment of the brand strategy

Focus groups

A focus group consists of individuals who share the same interests and/or features and who are assembled and led by a moderator in an interactive environment with the purpose of obtaining information on a topic of interest. 

Focus groups are a part of the in-depth research into the needs and the motivation of a company’s target audience. This method helps give an idea about how existing or new products are perceived or an understanding of the way in which the feelings behind a specific product/service are determined by concepts/criteria.

Focus groups can also be organized online by making use of the internet connection and assembling respondents who are registered at the virtual platform available via link. Through computer webcams and audio systems it is possible to look at and listen to each other, after that a survey can be run in the traditional way, but without the need to be physically present.

In-depth interviews

In-depth interviews refer to qualitative market research methods based on a confidential conversation between a moderator and a respondent with the aim to gather specific information.

The goal of in-depth interviews

  • to produce insight into important questions
  • to gather opinions of subject categories which are otherwise difficult to access
  • to gather feedback on existing products and services
  • to identify positive and negative aspects of new products and/or services more easily
  • to evaluate the adequacy of a product or service according to market requirements
  • to understand the reasons for group behavior
  • to gather non-standard opinions, attitudes, views of target groups
  • to find ways to deal with problematic situations
  • to help identify the needs and wishes of the target group
  • to get insight into what the customers really think about your company
  • to look at new possibilities to develop your company or individual products or services
  • to identify hypotheses and instructions for further research

The main advantage of in-depth interviews is that it allows you to obtain information from target group customers who are otherwise difficult to access. Through in-depth interviews it is possible to discover the hidden mechanisms that motivate the behavior of customers, which may be something that the customers are unaware of, thus making this type of research very interesting to clients.


Focus group-oriented in-depth interviews can be made more effective when certain conditions are met:

  • The participants are geographically separated or there is a small number of participants
  • The subject of conversation is so complex that only a person equipped with specific, unique professional skills and competences can reveal it
  • Questionnaires should be limited to certain target groups
  • When it is necessary to interview specifically characterized respondents (e.g. employed in certain areas, holding high-ranking positions, having high incomes, leading atypical lifestyles and/or using premium products / services.)
  • In situations where the opinion of the group may significantly impact the opinion of the respondent (as in the example of focus groups)
  • For a deeper understanding of the complex purchase behavior (purchase motivation, perception, expectations of purchasers, degree of satisfaction following the purchase)
  • For the study of confidential, sensitive, personal matters or questions

Other methods

Direct observation / participant observation is a method in which events, behavior and interaction are observed in order to develop a deep understanding and a close relationship with a community or group of individuals.